USA Volleyball diary: Michelle Moriarty
Our trip to Colorado Springs began Friday, Feb. 23 when Ashley Engle, (Texas head) coach (Jerritt) Elliott, and I caught an afternoon flight to Colorado. There were a bunch of other volleyball players on our flight from Dallas to Colorado Springs, which definitely got us more excited.
Once we got there we checked in and hung out and waited for Jen (Christian), Al (Alyson Jennings), and Pao (Lauren Paolini) to get there. Ashley and I were roommates and we ended up also having Jen as a roommate. While we waited, Ash and I talked to a few of our friends that we met from USA Volleyball, like Cynthia Barboza (Stanford) and Marcie Hampton (Florida). When the rest of the group finally arrived, we all went to eat and then went to part one of the try out.
There was an early and late group for each of the sessions, and all five of us were lucky to be together the first night. The first session was mainly testing and getting everybody back into a rhythm, since most of us haven't been playing a ton of volleyball this spring. Our first workout went pretty well and we all had a lot of fun playing. Friday night was especially fun for me because I got to hit a lot, which I don't get to do much here at Texas!
The next day, we had two sessions scheduled and an extra session for the liberos and outside hitters. Alyson and I were both in the late group, so we met up for breakfast and headed to the gym for our session. This session was a little more skill-specific, so we did more drills than the night before, but it was still a lot of fun. You don't realize how the higher altitude can affect you until you get up there and start running around!
After the practice, we went back to the dorm and grabbed a bite to eat. We ended up hanging out with a bunch of the other girls for awhile before having a little down time. I was lucky and got to go back to my room to hang out, sleep and do a little catching up on school work while the other four girls went to the passing session.
The schedule changed later in the day and we all got moved into the later group. The change let the rest of the girls come back and relax in their rooms for a little while before the last Saturday session. After some napping and TV watching, we headed to the cafeteria to grab a quick bite to eat and headed off to practice.
The last session of Saturday ended up being warm-ups, game-like drills and then actual scrimmaging. It was awesome to get to actually play! However, it was really challenging since we mostly played with players with whom we were not used to playing. My team ended up winning about half of our games. It could have been better, but it still went pretty well.
We were all really exhausted after our last practice on Saturday, so we went back to the dorm, showered and went to bed! Since we were in the later group, we got a nice long night of sleep. When we all woke up on Sunday we went to a great breakfast. The breakfast, and all of the food in general at the Olympic Training Center, was awesome!!
After our really good breakfast, we went to the gym and watched the last part of the first group's session. We played timed games for the whole last session, and we were all pretty tired at that point. Our scrimmages were set up a little differently, in that the setters didn't have a set team that they were with; we stayed on the same court and teams switched to play with us on our courts.
It makes it really tough as a setter trying to set all the different hitters, but we were all up for the challenge. Also, we didn't know beforehand that some of the girls who were already training with the National Team joined us for this session. These were mostly players who had just finished their college careers and it was really cool to see them as National Team players!
The session went really well and we sat down and had a meeting with USA Volleyball Director of High Performance, Tom Pingel. He told us we could expect team selection answers by March 9, and that everybody was really pleased with our tryout group.
After that last session, we said our goodbyes to the girls we knew and the new people we had met and headed back to the dorms to shower and pack. All five of us shoved our luggage into one car to leave the training center, but not before stopping to take pictures at the Olympic Rings. The pictures ended up turning out really cute, so it was worth it!
Our first flight ended up being delayed, but our second flight was delayed even more, so our travel home worked out well. We got back to Austin around midnight, and we all headed home to finish our school work and get some much needed rest.
We all had such a great experience in Colorado and we are still talking about the great people we met! It was such an honor to play with such great athletes and to be able to try out for the USA National Team!